The Underbelly of Innovation

The underbelly of innovation is community building, an epiphany that took me years to realize.

In my early experiences, I was an innovation participant unaware of the other side of the river. Engulfed in exciting experiences along with my classmates, I enjoyed every bit of it. And it was a vibrant international community, one that I forgot until the day my direct manager started telling to read about emotional intelligence.

👋🏼 Understand dealing with people is a core requirement for becoming an innovation manager, biggest slap I got when I realized it’s plural.

People interact in strange ways, and communities thrive under strange circumstances. For example, 50 participants in a bootcamp interact on multiple levels. Amongst themselves, their team members, with the mentors, and other participants. They can only be guided through a great deal of emotional intelligence, but don’t kid yourself that you can control them.

🔥 Innovation thrives when communities grow, for their contagious energy. More importantly, for their various participations and unique perspectives.

Both managers and organizations struggle with innovation, either because of them focusing on the output rather than the source of ideas. Or because they haven’t caught on to the ways of organic growth through community building. This is most evident when we witness a one way communication, from them to the community and not a simple whisper in sight.

🎤 Communities exist in two forms, either a two way communication or a thriving three way one. The later is more powerful.

Present the platform and create multiple engagement points, areas of intersection where community members can talk to each other and provide value to each other. The collective of their beliefs and thoughts will bring the rest to life. Stop fidgeting and thinking you are the one who has to speak every time.

A growing community is a constantly evolving flow of ideas, solutions, and powerful commotions. Oh how inspiring it is to hear their voices raise to higher frequency you couldn’t reach before.

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